History of Gray's Inn Lodge

Gray’s Inn Lodge was founded in the wave of expansion of Freemasonry which followed the supreme sacrifices of World War I and which is commemorated most vividly by the famous Peace Memorial Temple of the United Grand Lodge of England in Covent Garden.

In early 1927 a group of senior members of Gray’s Inn who were masons petitioned the Bench of the Inn for permission to found a lodge, to be named Gray’s Inn Lodge. This was duly given and on the 25th October 1927 the new lodge was consecrated in the presence of many senior Grand Lodge Officers, many of whom became joining members of the new lodge. Prominent among those was the earl of Birkenhead, better known as F. E. Smith, a former Lord Chancellor and then Secretary of State for India. Among many prominent members of the lodge since then, one may mention Lord Justice Hilbery, whose book “Duty and Art in Advocacy” used to be presented to every newly called barrister, Sir Bernard Spilsbury the most famous criminal pathologist of the inter-war period, Freddie Landau who personally planted and nurtured an olive grove in the desert of Palestine, Lord Widgery, Lord Chief Justice of England, and Lord Edmund-Davies, the Judge in the “trial of the century” of the Great Train Robbers. The ritual book used by the great majority of English lodges was compiled and edited by the Preceptor of the lodges Lodge of Instruction, Judge Alan Trapnell, not being a member of the Gray's Inn Lodge, he was not eligible for membership of the lodge. The lodge is no longer a “closed” one and is open to all men of good character who wish to embrace the principles of openness, morality and community service which characterise Freemasonry.

Most of our members have some legal connections; the Lodge Secretary is a Chairman of the Bench of Magistrates in the Medway and our current Worshipful Master is an American Attorney, based in Kansas City who is prepared to fly eight thousand miles to attend Lodge meetings. Members are required to affirm their belief in the Great Architect of the Universe, though this term is left to individuals to interpret as they wish. The Lodge has members of all Christian denominations as well as Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Sikhs, though (so far) no Buddhists; as well as those of no specific religious affiliation. Our Master Elect is in fact a full time Military Methodist Chaplain.

The Lodge meets four times a year; In October (where the Master and Officers are installed), January, March and May at Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden. Meetings take place in early evenings and are followed by a dinner at a local restaurant where the atmosphere is informal. Ladies’ Nights for wives and partners are held from time to time. The Lodge is proud of its record in charitable giving, where a balance is struck between Masonic charities such as the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution which provides homes for elderly masons and their partners, and Non-Masonic ones such as the CyberKnife Appeal at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, which is proving to be a breakthrough in the clinical treatment of cancer. While no member is obliged to give to our charities, participation is encouraged. The Lodge is proud to be part of the Universities’ Scheme. We are the only Lodge associated with one of the four Inns of Court and one of only four Bar Lodges in England. The Lodge prides itself on being friendly and welcoming. Those interested in further information are invited to contact our Secretary, Mr David Graeme JP.